Sleeping In A Jar

Sidelined with injury, I’m not going to be cooking a whole lot for a few days, so I thought I’d put up something about the vinegars’ progress. It’s been a very satisfying endeavor so far, and I encourage everyone to give vinegar-making a shot. It couldn’t be easier, and the rewards are many. My first post about it can be found here.

I recently decanted a half gallon each of red wine and cider, and they’re both bottled and in regular use. They bring joy to whatever they touch. The others are coming along; I suspect that the blackcurrant will be the next one ready. I also started a new jar of rosé, because the color is irresistible and that’s reason enough. I also chose a darker, more extracted pink wine so that the result will ideally be halfway between red and white in terms of its flavor. The new batch of cider is roaring; last week there were steady bubbles as it fermented into alcohol and then the next wave of microbes got busy turning that into vinegar. The cranberry/strawberry hasn’t done a damn thing that I can see; I’m wondering if one or the other bottles of wine that went into it was made with fruit that was sprayed with something horrible. I may have to chuck it. And the maple/sumac could be great. It’s starting to smell like vinegar, but it has a somewhat different colony of critters; the floating cap of mother is more opaque and wrinkled than the others.

I’m hopeful that with this many jars going I’ll always have something on hand and never run out, but it gets used up surprisingly fast. I may need to upgrade to gallon jugs for the red and the cider since they’re so damn good and versatile. With that in mind, I brought some Australian reds that I couldn’t sell back from VT to make the next batch. Now while it seems absurd to use a couple of $30 bottles to make vinegar, it’s important to remember that I can’t stand this wine at all any more (though I will of course taste it to make sure something miraculous hasn’t happened). But I think that the flavors that make it so awful as wine might make for a fascinating vinegar. Those chocolatey, creamy dessert notes that overpower these wines might make for all sorts of creative applications in desserts or maybe an espresso vinaigrette. Stay tuned for the exciting result.

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  1. February 26

    Yay, Peter: what fun experiments going on here. And indeed, you do use them up fast. Might as well upgrade to gallons.

    I was surprised when someone walked in and thought my pantry stank. “ohmygah, VINEGAR!” was their response (I had sent them to fetch some basic item, like the sea salt) to which I said, well, of course it does. That’s where the stuff’s being made. It’s the warmest room in the house, you see…and they like it warm.

  2. February 26

    you would be very useful at any cocktail party. social banter. everything you ever wanted to know about vinegar, et al…

  3. March 1

    that looks thrilling! Perhaps you should give a class on vinegar making soon… also, did I miss the meat curing?

  4. Peter
    March 1

    El: You obviously need better friends.

    Claudia: Whyncha invite me to a party, then?

    Eve: I will, and no. Look for an email soon about a March date. I need to buy and salt some stuff so it’s ready in time. Also, you people are very difficult to schedule.

  5. March 4

    You always seem to be one project ahead of me.

    Love the Zappa reference in the title, Uncle Meat would be a god title for a blog.

  6. Peter
    March 4

    It’s nice to know that somebody gets my various obscure allusions. And Uncle Meat was to be a title for a post to be determined later; last time my Brother visited he positively murdered the ham we have hanging in the kitchen so I thought about something along those lines.

  7. March 5

    I use obscure title allusions as well, but nobody notices them.

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